Posted Oct 8, 2013
by Eliza Brooke (@eliza_pb)
Although blood tests are meant to tell you something about your internal state of affairs, it usually feels like you need a medical degree to decipher the results. A New York-based startup called Luminate Health has raised a $1 million seed round led by KEC Ventures to do just that.
A graduate of the health tech accelerator Blueprint Health, Luminate is promoting patient empowerment by facilitating easy access to lab results and then helping people understand them. Although many doctors use portals like Patient Gateway to communicate lab results, they often don’t provide much in terms of explanation, either requiring a written letter from the doctor or a follow-up consultation.
“Today, if patients are able to access their information at all, it’s a paper spit-out of the results,” said cofounder Sidd Sinha. “If you get your physical done and get blood work done with it, you may not get a lab report. Or you do, and it has no context.”
Using a slew of clinically backed resources and physician consultants, Luminate tells the patient what the test means and why they had it done, and then provides additional information in the form of articles and video content.
They are not aiming to be an interpretive or diagnostic tool, though: the goal is to give the patient as much information as possible so that they can engage with the data, ask better questions, and actively manage their own health. Moving forward, they will continue to simplify content to give users better information.
Although patients are the end users of the product, Luminate is a SaaS startup and its clients are the labs, both commercial and hospital. They’ve partnered with one of the 10 largest labs in the U.S. already, although the founders can’t yet say which. Luminate is also working with physicians and hoping to show them that the tool can improve communication with patients, which would certainly help with adoption.
Initially, Luminate will focus on a broad set of routine tests, Sinha said. Down the line they will expand to more specialized medical tests in areas, including endocrinology, genetic testing and oncology. They are also looking to implement the system in retail clinics like those at Walgreens and Target, as doctors offices continue to see greater traffic.